Emmanuel Macron blasted over Brexit fishing deal: Sold it to French as victory!

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The UK has said it will “continue to stand behind Jersey” should France pursue “unjustified” threats on rights, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. France had threatened to stop British boats offloading catches at its ports after seizing a trawler late last month. Mr Johnson said he hoped the sanctions would be “taken off the table permanently”.

The row is just part of a string of protests and threats from France.

French President Emmanuel Macron is angry about the UK and Jersey having denied fishing licences to dozens of French boats.

Granting licences to those with evidence of historical work in the area was part of a post-Brexit deal.

Talks are currently ongoing in a bid to solve the dispute which has forced a rift between France and the UK.

Brexit Minister Lord David Frost and French Europe minister, Clement Beaune, have met on several occasions but are yet to reach an agreement.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), said the dispute was symptomatic of the failures of the part of the Brexit deal that dealt with fishing.

He said France “regarded” itself as the “big winner” out of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

He noted how quotas stayed the same in the eastern Channel with the UK’s share placed at nine percent while France maintained a healthy 84 percent.

But, he said Mr Macron sold this to French fishermen as the status quo — something he claims is not the case.

Mr Deas told Express.co.uk: “I think they looked at that and said the six to 12 mile limit was a red line.

“We had asked for and been assured that we would get an exclusive 12 mile limit, which is just the norm for coastal states, but we didn’t get that.

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“I think all of these things were taken by the French government and sold as a famous victory and the status quo being maintained.

“But as time is moving on, we’re finding that actually, the UK’s completely compliant with the TCA in asking for evidence of having fished in UK waters before they’ll grant a licence.

“It is a technical issue and it’s true that when you use historic fishing patterns as a criteria for a licence, you do get these borderline difficult cases, but that’s sorted out at a technical level.”

France says that for the six to 12 mile zone off Guernsey and Jersey, 210 licences have so far been granted, whereas it requested 454.

Authorities say only about 20 of Boulogne-sur-Mer’s 112-strong fleet are permitted to fish in that zone.

The UK, meanwhile, says it has granted about 1,700 licences, 98 percent of EU applications.


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However, this is thought to include licences to fish in Britain’s exclusive economic zone between 12 and 200 miles from the coast, which were automatic under the terms of the TCA.

Mr Johnson recently met with Jersey ministers.

According to a Government spokesperson, he “underlined the strength of the UK/Jersey relationship and committed to continue working closely together on issues of mutual importance”.

The spokesperson added: “On fishing licences, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his support for Jersey’s approach, which has been reasonable.

“He reiterated that the UK would continue to stand behind Jersey in the event that [the threats from France] were carried through, although he welcomed their deferral and said he hoped that they would be taken off the table permanently.

“Both sides agreed that they would continue to assess new evidence in support of the remaining licence applications and that technical discussions with the EU Commission and France would continue.”

It is unclear when the UK and France will reach an agreement.

To secure a fishing licence in the zone, EU boats have to prove they have previously worked in the area.

British sources have said some applications lacked that historical evidence.

France, however, denied that claim.

Mr Beaune recently told reporters: “There have been no applications made without evidence of past activity, often very detailed.

“We are not asking for something for nothing.”

The UK has since said there had been no change in the British position, denying France’s claims of a deliberate move to refuse French fishing crews licences.

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